Cranberry chicken pecan salad is a tasty dish that combines sweet and savory flavors into a healthy and satisfying meal. This salad is a great option for a quick lunch, potluck, or a side dish for a summer BBQ.
About chicken salad with cranberries and pecans
Who doesn’t love a good Rotisserie chicken for an effortless dinner? But let’s be honest, those juice leftovers often end up sitting in the fridge, waiting to be forgotten. One of many great solutions is to whip up some chicken salad.
Not only it’s a great way to use up leftover chicken, but it’s also tasty, healthy and so versatile.
Today, I invite you to try our healthy chicken salad with sweet cranberries, crunchy pecans, and a lighter dressing.
The chicken provides a good source of protein, while cranberries add a touch of sweetness and antioxidants, and pecans provide a satisfying crunch alongside healthy fats.
The salad is easy to make, especially when you use per-cooked chicken and store-bought dried cranberries and pecans.
Similar to our Buffalo tuna salad, It’s a great dish to make for potluck and parties, as it can be made in large quantities and it is easy to transport.
Ingredients and substitutions
You can see the ingredients’ quantities in the recipe card at the very end of this post.
- Diced cooked chicken – leftover rotisserie, baked, or boiled chicken. You can also use canned chicken.
- Celery – green celery adds a refreshing taste and crunchy texture. You can also use a granny smith apple instead.
- Dried Cranberries – I used slightly sweetened dried cranberries. You can use raising instead.
- Pecans – I used chopped unsalted roasted pecans. Walnuts are another great type of nut to add to the salad.
- Green onions – chives or green onions will add a mild onion flavor without overpowering the dish. You can also use red onion.
- Mayonnaise – light or full-fat real mayonnaise. Avoid using miracles whip. If you do not have mayo, just use Green yogurt instead.
- Plain Greek yogurt – you can use only mayo, but adding Greek yogurt will make your dressing lighter. You can also use sour cream instead of yogurt.
- Dijon mustard – it makes the dressing a little sharp and spicy.
- Apple cider vinegar – for tangy and sour taste. You can also use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead.
- Honey – honey will sweeten the dressing and balance all the flavors.
- Salt and black pepper – I add only a little bit of each to the dressing as it can be adjusted individually.
Step 1. Wash celery and scallions well. Cut off the root ends. Boil chicken breast if you do not have a pre-cooked one. Shred or dice the chicken into small chunks. Slice the celery into long strips and then chop it into small pieces. Dice the scallions. If you have whole pecans, chop them into smaller pieces.
Step 2. In a large bowl, add diced chicken, celery, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and green onions.
Step 3. In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, Green yogurt, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper until smooth.
Step 4. First, add about half amount of the dressing to the salad and mix it with a large spoon. You do not want to overdo with the dressing as it may make the salad soggy. Especially, if it is going to be served later. If you feel like the salad is too dry, add a little bit more at a time, until it reaches the desired creaminess. Serve it right away or chill it for a few hours in the fridge.
It’s not news that chicken salad is an incredibly versatile dish that can be served in so many ways, making it an ideal choice for a quick dinner or even a meal prep option.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy it is by making a chicken salad sandwich using your favorite bread or a croissant. And for a low-carb option, consider serving the salad in lettuce wraps instead.
My other favorite way is to serve it over a bed of lettuce, such as romaine or butter lettuce to make it a more substantial salad.
Chicken salad will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to transfer the leftovers to an airtight container. If the salad has been sitting at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, toss it as it may not be safe to consume.
If storing in a bowl, make sure to cover it tightly with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
You can also freeze the chicken salad leftovers, although it may lose it’s crunch and texture after thawing.
Other chicken salads recipes you may like
Cranberry Chicken Pecan Salad
- 1 measuring cup
- measuring spoons
- 1 large bowl
- 1 small bowl
- 1 whisk
Cranberry pecan chicken salad
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 2 ribs fresh celery
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup pecans, chopped roasted or raw
- 2 ea green onions
- ½ cup real mayonnaise, light or full fat
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt, plain
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Cranberry pecan chicken salad
- Shred cooked chicken. Dice the green onions and celery into small pieces.
- In a large bowl, add chicken, green onions, celery, dried cranberries and pecans.
- Add about half of the dressing and mix until combined. If the salad is still dry, add more dressing until the desired creaminess achieved. Serve at room temperature or chill in the fridge.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk ½ cup real mayonnaise, ⅓ cup Greek yogurt, plain, 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon honey, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper until smooth and creamy. Add it to the chicken salad.
- You can use any leftover chicken to make the salad.
- Roasted pecans have better flavor, but raw ones work well too.
- If you store the salad in a bowl, make sure to cover it with a plastics wrap or a lid.
- All nutrition information is only estimate and calculated using the calorie counting application.